x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Science education is wise investment

The overhauled curriculum that lays stress on scientific education and which was unveiled last week by Adec for the emirate's junior school pupils, is a step in the right direction.

Adeeb Al Balooshi was honoured by Dubai Municipality last week for his novel design of a prosthetic limb for his father. It was recognition that any inventor would be happy to receive. That Adeeb is just nine years old makes his accomplishment all the more remarkable.

Creativity like young Adeeb's is a skill to praise. Indeed, the waterproof appendage for his father is just the latest in a series of gadgets he's fashioned. Among his other credits: a push-free vacuum for his mum. But it is equally important for those much older than Adeeb to work to encourage an education environment where many more like him can excel. Trained scientists, engineers and hard science professionals - these will be the innovation leaders of tomorrow as the UAE progresses towards a knowledge economy.

From this perspective, the overhauled curriculum unveiled last week by Abu Dhabi Education Council for the emirate's Grade 6 state school pupils is a step towards that future.

The new programme that includes mathematics and science as core subjects lays emphasis on critical thinking. Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, director general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council, made the objective clear: "To serve our 2030 vision and to serve our economy we need to concentrate on the science track in education."

The new Adec curriculum will also see information and computer technology teachers working as e-learning educators to develop an approach to lesson plans that integrates technology.

With the UAE's rapid progresses, the meaning and scope of science have been expanding in tandem.

To be sure, the Muslim world has a long history of contribution to science and technology, from astronomy to chemistry and medicine. But today there is much work to do to restore the Arab world to its place of past innovative leadership.

Young people like Adeeb must be at the forefront of this effort. Teaching more science at an early age will inspire more pupils to pursue higher studies and, eventually, careers in scientific disciplines. For a nation as reliant on technology as this one, educated innovators will be the drivers of future growth.